The issue of police misusing IT systems
humberside police fined by ico for data breach

The issue of police misusing IT systems

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We’ve discussed the issue of the police misusing IT systems before, and it’s a topic that needs to be addressed a lot given the nature of the data that they’re charged with.

Officers and employees have access to huge amounts of data, some of which is very personal and very sensitive. When exposed, victims can be understandably distressed, and that’s where we can assist.

Victims of a data breach can be entitled to make a claim for compensation that stems from the loss of control of private and sensitive information. We may be able to represent you, and since no one is above the law, you shouldn’t worry about going up against the police.

Laws clear over police misusing IT systems

The law is absolutely clear when it comes to the police misusing IT systems. No matter who the organisation is, data must be processed, used and stored fairly, and with reason. As such, if any employee of the police abuses their right to access information, this can  be a breach of the law and they can be punished accordingly.

A common incident can be a case of snooping. Officers and employees are not allowed to look at information out of curiosity, and any behaviour like this can lead to disciplinary action. It can also lead to dismissals and prosecutions from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as well as legal cases for compensation.

All organisations – the police included – are responsible for the training, policies and procedures in place for staff to ensure that no breaches take place. With the police, this duty is even more important because breaches could lead to particularly sensitive data being exposed. They could also damage ongoing criminal cases, so this is a serious business.

Some recent statistics

A recent Freedom of Information request from think-tank Parliament Street reportedly uncovered some damming statistics when it comes to the issue of the police misusing IT systems.

It’s understood that, statistically, every three days a police employee is disciplined as a result of an incident that relates to breaching data protection rules or misusing IT systems. This means that there must be hundreds of officers and workers that have been found to have broken the rules, which doesn’t fill us with a great deal of confidence when it comes to the data that the police force is charged with protecting.

Incidents can include taking pictures of crime scenes and even sharing those images with other officers or even those outside of the police force. Images of police computer screens can also lead to breaches, but there are also cases of ‘snooping’ where officers and employees have accessed databases inappropriately and without reason or authority to do so. Usually, it’s a case of looking at the data of someone that they know. This is not OK.

Legal advice and help

Victims of incidents that involve the police misusing IT systems – whether it’s an officer or an employee – have rights. Victims can be entitled to make a claim for data breach compensation, and we may be able to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Data breach compensation amounts when it involves police matters can be high when the nature of the information exposed is sensitive. This is always something that we take into careful consideration as data breach claims experts as we look to obtain the best possible pay-out for our clients.

For free, no-obligation advice about your options, you can contact the team today for help and advice.

Although we can be thankful for the hard work and bravery of our police force here in the UK, they are not above the law, and we are able to take them on for you.

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You can call our claims team free from a landline or mobile on 0800 634 7575 or click on the link below to create a call back with one of our expert Data Claims team.Information on how we handle your data is available in our Privacy Policy.

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